Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
Statement issued at the National Convention
12th, 13th December 2009, Raipur
We, the undersigned representatives of women’s organizations, human rights organization and individuals have gathered at Raipur on 12th and 13th of December 2009 to raise our voice against the sexual violence on women that has emerged as a continuous feature of state repression.
Areas of the North East and Kashmir where army has been deployed have long witnessed many instances of custodial rape, sexual violence, indiscriminate arrest, torture and killings. The offensive launched by the Government of India in the name of curbing ‘Maoism’ and spreading ‘development’ in the adivasi inhabited areas of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra has also been accompanied by rampant sexual violence by armed forces as well as by other state-protected vigilante groups and private armies. Reports indicate that this offensive is even spreading to other states. Sexual violence has been a feature of combing operations everywhere, and encounter killings, arbitrary arrests of activists and intimidation of fact finding teams are becoming the order of the day.
While the offensive is ostensibly aimed at combating insurgency and left-wing extremism, we believe that the entire offensive is aimed at facilitating corporate grab of land and other resources, as well as at suppressing democratic movements for land, livelihood and democratic rights. Women have been at the forefront of these struggles – and have borne the brunt of the repression.
We are also concerned with the fact that security forces routinely enjoy impunity for their crimes. In the rape and murder of Manorama in Manipur, and Nilofer and Asiya Jan at Shopian, justice has been mocked in spite of remarkable mass movements. Mass protests against sexual violence during police raids have met with severe repression – and even police firing at Narayanpatna. Even fact finding groups of women seeking to investigate these incidents have not been spared. While the Indian government justifies its offensive in the name of restoring democracy we find that women are denied even the minimum democratic right to lodge complaints in cases of rape by state protected forces.
It must be remembered in this context that more than half a century of use of force has not resulted in bringing peace or development in North East or Kashmir and armed offensive is no solution to any unrest.
- Withdrawal of the army and paramilitary forces from all these areas of the country with immediate effect and no future deployment of the army by the government on its own people
- Restoration of land and rehabilitation of the displaced people of Chhatisgarh as per the Supreme Court directives
- Disbanding of Salwa Judum and other such outfits like the Special Protection Officers and other private militia
- To give immediate approval for prosecution of cases registered in states under the AFSPA rule
- Filing and investigation of the rape complaints made before the NHRC from Chhattisgarh
- Land for land rehabilitation in projects already underway and the scraping of all MOUs which give rights of land and other resources to corportes from India and outside.
- Replace armed offensive with political initiatives and peace dialogue with activists and representatives in places which have been termed disturbed areas.
- Release political prisoners and activists.
- Scrap the SEZ Act and hold public enquiry in transfer of land carried out so far.
- Repeal draconian laws like CSPSA, UAPA, NIA,NSA etc.
Saheli, Delhi, Chattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch, Human Rights Alert Manipur, Lalgarh Morcha, The Other Media, Rachna Manch, APDR West Bengal, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha, Humane , Koraput, Orrisa, Baiga Mahapanchayat Lorbhi Bilaspur, Chattisgarh Mahila Mukti Morcha, WE Forum Raipur, Navsrajan Gujarat, Rohidas Mahila Kalian Samiti, Vanagana UP, AIPWA, PUCL Karnataka, Samata Vedike Mysore, CAVOW, CPDR, Mumbai. IRMA, Manipur, NBA, AISA, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan, IWID, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog sanghatan, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Pratidhwani, Sahmet,Madhya Pradesh Mahila ManchVidhyarthi Yuvjan Sabha, Stree Adhikar Sanghatan, UP, Dalit Stri Shakti Andhara Pradesh., Samanatha Mahila Vedike, Namma Manasa, Stree Jagruti Samiti, Alternate Law Forum, Hengasara Hakkina Sangha, Campaign for Justice and Peace Karnataka, MARA